NIAA to study options with Gorman
March 7, 2012
RENO -The main agenda item for Tuesday’s NIAA Board of Control Meeting centered on the possibility of a postseason separation between private and public schools.
It was quickly apparent that the agenda item was specifically aimed at Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman, which has dominated the 4A state sports scene in the past six years, and not the handful of other private institutions throughout the Silver State.
The Gaels have won six straight baseball titles, three of the last four basketball titles and four of the last five football titles. It’s gotten so bad that schools in Las Vegas won’t play them unless they have to. It’s no secret that everybody in Nevada would rather the Gaels chase national rankings instead of making mincemeat of Nevada schools.
And, after spending approximately 90 minutes on the item, and hearing input from board members plus representatives from Bishop Manogue, Bishop Gorman, Faith Lutheran and Rite of Passage, the board decided to organize a committee to discuss the situation and bring back some solutions when the group meets again in June.
Board member Erin Cranor, of the Clark County Board of Trustees, said it was important that the committee come up with a few solutions to look at when it meets again.
Eddie Bonine, the NIAA executive director, said he would probably be taking the lead in finding people that would serve. He even went so far as to say that he might ask people outside the state to be on the committee.
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John Kilduff, Bishop Gorman president, said he was open to working with a committee as long as the group was “objective”.
“It will be a difficult task,” said Ken Cass, Washoe County’s director of student activities. “I do think when you look at solutions, there could be some good ones. There’s potential for some dialogue that could lead to good ones.”
“The decision has to be data driven,” said Lawrence Howell, the chief operating officer of the Rite of Passage corporation. “It can’t be based on perception or envy.”
The perception is that Gorman recruits, yet no solid evidence has been turned into the NIAA.
Kilduff spent a good deal of time answering questions about recruiting and tuition help given to students at Gorman.
Kilduff said determination of a family’s need for tuition help is done by an outside agency. He said that there are no 100 percent waivers at Gorman, and the people doing the investigating don’t know whether the student is an athlete or not. He did admit that his school paid about $1 million in tuition waivers out of its operating budget.
The Bishop Gorman president said that whenever allegations are brought to his attention that he’s been able to satisfy the NIAA. Currently, star basketball player Shabazz Muhammad is being investigated regarding his alleged dealings with financial advisers. According to NIAA bylaws, a student-athlete is not an amateur if he/she receives any award that has a retail value of more than $200.
Though there has been discussion about Gorman in the past, things came to a head after the Gaels whipped Reed (in football) and Hug (in basketball) by more than 40 points.
Palo Verde Principal and NIAA board member Dan Phillips is one of those who said Gorman belongs elsewhere.
“Bishop Gorman is the issue,” Phillips said. “We have different goals (than Gorman) for our athletic programs. I won’t play them unless I have to.
“They scored 72 points in a state title game (against Reed).”
Phillips did say that Palo Verde would play Gorman if the Gaels were an independent school because the Gaels would be a good measuring stick.
Cass doesn’t expect the Gaels to have a dropoff anytime soon.
“Look at the facilities Gorman is going to continue to build,” Cass said. “They’re going to continue to be a superpower. I don’t think they’re (just) on a cycle of good athletes.”